European champions Chelsea are signing a young winger from Bristol City, Bristol Live understands.
The Robins have agreed a lucrative deal for attacking midfielder Shaun Wade to join the Premier League giants. An agreement is close and once all the paperwork is completed an official announcement will be made.
The West Country outfit will not stand in the way as the side from the capital bring in the 14-year-old who was previously at Mangotsfield Juniors Football Club.
Wade was at the Cobham training complex on Thursday to put pen to paper and visit the top class facilities that he will use from here on in. He will join the Blues academy at U15s level and the team of Romelu Lukaku, Mason Mount and N’Golo Kante showed their class by producing shirts with Wade’s name on at an introductory family welcome offered on the day.
Wade has been at Bristol City since Under-8s and follows in the footsteps of Jacob Maddox who joined the Blues in 2013 from Bristol City too. While it is disappointing to see a top local talent head elsewhere, Bristol City are set to benefit very well from the deal and the Robins do not wish to hinder a chance to train with some of the best talent in the world.
Wade’s first football club posted a celebratory message to the news this week: “Shaun been an incredible talent from U5s but has worked hard to achieve this! Good luck Shaun and remember you’re always part of the #Mangofamily.”
And the player himself wrote on Instagram that he is: “happy to sign for @chelseafc and move on to a new chapter in my life,thanks to all my coaches,friends and family who have helped me get to this stage. Hard work starts now.”
The attacking midfielder will join 15-year-old Kaiden Wilson who joined Chelsea 18 months ago after he was snapped up from central Bristol too. Going back further and Scott Sinclair moved from the South West, and Bristol Rovers, to Chelsea back in 2005, though the Bathonian was on the cusp of the first team at the Mem when he switched to West London.
“You could tell he was a great talent right from when he was five,” Mangotsfield Juniors Football Club chairman Colin Sutton tells Bristol Live of the teenage prospect. “The ball was just stuck to his foot.
“It’s incredible for him. He’s such a quiet unassuming lad when it comes to his football. He’s knuckled down and done brilliant.
“We had a huge influx around those age groups and we were running four squads, but he massively stood out immediately. When he was with us we got them to play every position to get them used to everywhere on the pitch, but if you put him at the back he would literally dribble around the whole team.
“He worked hard and was good in the tackle but he could easily run through a whole team. He’s always been rapid and technically he’s just naturally gifted.
“We’re chuffed to bits for him. It’s great for him and his family and for us,” explains Sutton, whose club have also seen Louis Britton, Ryley Towler and Tommy Backwell come through their ranks and join Bristol City, as well as Chelsea-bound Wade.
The competition is intense at the European Cup winners but the chance to make it to the very top is alluring.
Bristol City chairman Jon Lansdown explained previously that the club hopes to entice all local talent to play at Ashton Gate.
“If you’re a really good footballer in the region, why wouldn’t you come here? That’s what you’re looking at,” Lansdown told Bristol Live in June.
“We’ve got an incredible facility, a great pathway and it’s all about opportunity. You can be a great player but if you don’t get the opportunity, it’s wasted.
“That’s what we focus on, you’ve got to have that pathway, you’ve got to try and have the best coaching system in place through the age group and most importantly, you’ve got to have the opportunity that when you get there, if you’re good enough, you’re involved,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bristol City’s Alex Scott started for the England U19s on Thursday as the attacking midfielder was part of a side that beat Italy 2-0 at St George’s Park in Burton.
The home side won after goals from Tottenham Hotspur’s Dane Scarlett and Chelsea youngster Jude Soonsup-Bell, who was previously at Swindon Town.